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Zimbabwe Opposition Challenges South Africa On Crisis Talks Outcome

Representatives of both factions of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change took issue Thursday with what they called misrepresentations by South Africa of the outcome of crisis resolution talks that Pretoria has claimed were successful but the MDC officials insisted was a failure and is now "dead," as one put it.

Secretaries general Tendai Biti and Welshman, respectively of the MDC formations led by Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara and joint negotiators in the crisis talks launched in March 2007, said the opposition is contesting March elections under protest because the talks did not lay the groundwork for free and fair ballots.

Biti told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that although he and Ncube did come to agreements with ZANU-PF negotiators on amending the constitution and overhauling security, media and electoral laws, core issues such as the timing of the elections and a new constitution were not resolved.

Political analyst Patrick Rankumise of the Africa Institute in Pretoria, South Africa, said that although it is difficult to know what really transpired in the talks, the Zimbabwean opposition now needs to focus all of its energies on the upcoming election.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...